Prompt: What is your definition of beauty?
(For ease of posting, I’ll stick with beautiful people, as opposed to beauty in nature or the world in general. I think that’s what’s meant by the prompt.)
My definition of beauty has nothing to do with physicality. A person who is morbidly obese, and hideous according to societal standards, can be beautiful beyond measure, based on actions. Someone whose appearance is flat-out stunning to society, can be revoltingly ugly.
I had a conversation with a couple recently. They’ve had a very difficult year. Their daughter was extremely ill with the kind of thing not easily diagnosed. Though she is home now, the illness will require management for the rest of her life.
A couple of months ago, we happened to be in the same building. Though I don’t know them well, I wanted to check in with them. Make sure they were okay. We sat and talked casually, for an hour or so. A week later, the female half of the couple tells me she has been wanting to send me a thank you note for reaching out. She tells me I’m a beautiful person. This remains one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.
I wanted to ask what on earth I said/did that prompted her comment. I really would like to know. I sit and had a conversation. I did less talking than listening. I gave them an hour of my time. That’s it. Nothing special.
I went through what I could remember of the conversation with a fine-toothed comb, trying to figure it out. Granted, my memory sucks, but I uncovered nothing of note. I did not offer sage words of advice. I just listened. Is kindness really that rare, that remarkable?
I define beauty on conduct and conduct alone. Does a person practice kindness? Do they reach out to others with support or gratitude or empathy? Do they seek to embrace new knowledge and points of view? Are they open and honest, without using honesty as an excuse to be hurtful? (God, that dress is hideous? … What? I’m just being honest!) Do they live with an open mind? Do they refrain from gossip? Do they love freely and with abandon?
These are the things that make someone beautiful. It is what’s on the inside that creates beauty.